01 August 2016

The Westfield Health British Transplant Games in Liverpool concluded with a spectacular day of track and field yesterday (Sunday 31 July).

The four-day event saw over 900 athletes, all of whom are either transplant recipients or live donors, take part in 30 sporting events. They ranged in age from 3 to 89, and every type of transplant was represented.

After a launch parade which brought Liverpool’s Waterfront to a standstill on Thursday night, each day’s schedule was packed with events taking place across the city region. Venues included Sefton Park (fishing), Litherland (cycling), West Derby (snooker) and Liverpool Cricket Club on Aigburth Road, which hosted archery and squash.

Then, on Saturday night, a record number of people – both Games athletes and their supporters – took part in the Donor Run to raise money for the Games. 1200 people took part along Liverpool’s waterfront, with a 5k, 3k and children’s event.

On Sunday a sea of colour transformed Wavertree Sports Park, as kids and adults alike tested themselves in events including sprints, relays, high jump, discus throwing and long jump.

The team from Addenbrooke’s Hospital won the overall adult team prize, while Birmingham Children’s won the kids title.

As well as celebrating athletes’ achievements, the Westfield Health British Transplant Games aim to raise awareness of organ donation. The Games has an overall objective of adding 10,000 signatures to the Organ Donor Register this year, and most importantly getting people to let their families know their wishes and help raise the level of consent up from its current figure of just 58%. While it’s too early to put an exact figure, early indications are that there has been a huge spike in sign-ups since the launch.

The Games are organised by charity Transplant Sport and supported by Liverpool City Council, the British Heart Foundation, Anthony Nolan, the British Kidney Patient Association, the Donor Family Network, and NHS Blood and Transplant.